Photo by Florian Haun on Unsplash

As you might have noticed from some of our other posts, I’m a big fan of Lovecraftian horror. This is exactly why I’ve made a list of the best Lovecraftian board games and discussed Call of Cthulhu at length.

I grab up just about every Lovecraftian board and card game I can without breaking the bank. That’s precisely how I ended up with Cthulhu Fluxx, and I thought now was as good a time as any to discuss it.

So if you’re wondering whether it’s worth getting for yourself, you’ve stumbled across the right page. In this post, I’ll be giving my iteration of a Cthulhu Fluxx Card game review. Please note, however, that I’m not any sort of experienced critic, so this review is from a more casual perspective.

Cthulhu Fluxx Gameplay Overview

Let’s start with a basic description on how the game works. If you’ve played any Fluxx game, you’re already familiar with the concept: it’s insanity and randomness. The insanity part actually works with the Lovecraftian theme really well, given that the stories often discuss the suffering sanity of their poor protagonists.

Cthulhu Fluxx Basic Rules Card

Anyway, you start each game with a Basic Rules card, which gets placed in the center of the table. I’ve included a picture of that card above for your reference. It functions as a bare-bones frame for rules until players add more rules of their own while the game unfolds.

The other cards get shuffled into a deck and each player gets three initially from that deck. Then, the remainder of the cards are placed facedown near the Basic Rules card to be drawn from each turn.

The win conditions change as you play. You’ll get goal cards that tell you how to win the game, action cards that allow you to perform some action before discarding them (such as drawing two cards), and keepers that can help you complete goals. Players can nix old goals and rules by replacing them with new ones over time.

You’ll even get meta rule cards that change the rules of the game each time. For instance, you could play a card that has each player drawing three cards on their turn or something to that effect.

In other words, the game is different pretty much every time. Because of this, it’s really difficult to describe.

Cthulhu Fluxx Card Game Review

At the time of writing this post, I’ve only done one other in-depth review of a card game, which was my Gloom card game review. I’m going to do this review the same way.

I’ve identified several qualities I’m going to discuss in regards to Cthulhu Fluxx. I’ll give each quality a score ranging from one to five, with one being the worst. Once that’s done, I’ll add up all the scores and average them out for an overall score.

That being said, here are the qualities I’ll be scoring, as well as how I define them:

  • Gameplay – how much I enjoyed playing the game.
  • Quality of Materials – the durability and attractiveness of the cards, rules, and box.
  • Learning Curve – how easy it is to learn to play if you’re a beginner.
  • Replayability – whether or not I will play the game again.
  • Cost – the price of the game with all other factors considered.


Various Cards You’ll Encounter in the Game

For this section, I’ll be discussing whether or not the gameplay is entertaining. However, from a Lovecraftian enthusiast’s standpoint, I also want to discuss how it works thematically.

I see a lot of games try to cash in on the popularity of cosmic horror by slapping the word “Cthulhu” in their name. That being said, Fluxx has a version for just about anything you can think of, including Spongebob Squarepants, so it’s not surprising they threw together a Cthulhu set.

I don’t mind that they’ve applied Cthulhu to their standard Fluxx game, and as I mentioned earlier, I think the insanity of the average game is fitting for the theme. It makes me enjoy the game even more when I see cards referencing things and characters in the lore, such as Richard Pickman. If you’re hoping this will be a game solely about Cthulhu, though, you’ll be sorely disappointed because it’s more about Lovecraftian lore in general.

Playing it is fine. It’s random and sometimes hard to follow, since the rules change just about constantly. These consistent changes can at times make you wonder how you’re going to win the game, especially if you’ve finally gathered the cards you need for victory for one particular goal, and another player changes the goal.

Score: 3.5

Quality of Materials

Cthulhu Fluxx Box

I think I got a little spoiled with games like Arkham Horror. Because of this, I tend to expect even my card games to come in boxes that are as stable and sturdy as Fort Knox with detailed rule guides on glossy pages. That might not be a realistic expectation for a card game.

With that in mind, I think the quality of the cards and the box are perfectly average. They’re not extraordinary – just average.

The instructions are just a folded up a sheet of double-sided paper, which is one complaint I had about Gloom. However, I know it would be unrealistic to expect much more, especially if you wanted it to fit in the box.

For that reason, I’m going to give it a similar score here as Gloom, with a slight bonus because the cards aren’t as slippery.

Score: 4.5

Learning Curve

Learning curve refers to how hard it is to learn to play a new game as a beginner. The thing that makes Cthulhu Fluxx somewhat confusing to play at times is simultaneously what makes it easy to pick up, though.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll try my best. With some games, you have to spend all this time learning complicated rules which are, for the most part, permanent.

This isn’t the case with Cthulhu Fluxx. Sure, you’ll have to learn about different card types, but that’s about it. Because the rules can change so quickly, there’s no need to spend time studying rules in advance. Someone will alter them at some point, anyway.

For that reason, I’d say it’s a fairly easy game to learn. You won’t need to spend much time learning to play before you pick it up.

Score: 5


The replayability category comes down to one question: would I play it again, or is it going to be a permanent (and dusty) addition to my game shelf?

I would say that, yes, Cthulhu Fluxx is something I’d consider playing once more. Because the rules change every game, it won’t get stale or boring quickly.

That being said, the rule-changing gimmick could potentially get old if you played it multiple times in a row. I don’t think this is one I’d play more than once in a given night.

Score: 4


Is Cthulhu Fluxx overpriced, or is it a good deal? When I refer to cost, that is precisely the question I seek to answer.

I’d say Cthulhu Fluxx is worth the cost. It’s certainly not too expensive. Given that it tends to be rather affordable, I think it’s worth getting for any Lovecraft fan in your life (or even to add to your own collection).

It’s so affordable, in fact, that I’ve bought it twice. I lost the first one I got somehow, and buying a second one wasn’t out of the question.

Score: 5

Overall Score

With all my other scores factored in, I’m giving Cthulhu Fluxx an overall score of 4.4.

Like I said earlier, I would suggest it for anyone who’s a fan of all things Lovecraft. It’s not going to change your life (or your card game experience), but it’s fun and will keep you on your toes.

Where to Buy Cthulhu Fluxx

Wondering where you can snag a copy for yourself? You can either click the links I provided above, or if you’re feeling too lazy to scroll, you can click here.

Aside from Amazon, there are a few other places you can acquire it, like directly from the Looney Labs site, the Barnes and Noble site, or possibly your local gaming stores.

Wrap Up

Cthulhu Fluxx isn’t one of those games I’ve regretted purchasing. I certainly hope to play it again sometime soon, whenever I’m in the mood for card games again.

It’s wacky, keeps you on your toes, and of course, incorporates those awesome Lovecraftian elements into each turn. If Lovecraftian is all you’re in the mood for, though, we’ve got some further suggestions in our list of the best Lovecraftian board games. You can also check out our guide to the best horror-themed card games for adults.

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